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Surprising Expiry Dates of 13 Common Household Items

Published on Apr 12, 2021

expiry dates of common household items

Time sure does go fast. As life flies by, it can be easy to lose track of the expiration dates of many of your household items.

Once something is past its expiration date, you could be rendering them useless. Worse still, an expired item could be also affecting your health.

Do an audit of your house using the checklist below. You’ll be surprised how long you’ve held onto some items!


Household Items’ Expiration Dates


1. Pillows

how often should you replace your pillow

Replace every 1-2 years

A pillow becomes less comfortable over time but an expired pillow can also be bad for your health. Your pillow is a breeding ground for dust mites and a host of bacteria. Even with many manufacturers printing an expiry date on the pillow itself. Most of us don’t update our pillows as often as we should.


2. Mattresses

how often should you replace your mattress

Replace every 7-8 years

If your bed is noticeable saggy or damaged, you’re not sleeping well or your asthma and allergies are being triggered, it may be time to replace your mattress.

Mattresses can harbour bacteria and the excrement of dust mites, which could be harmful to your health. A professional clean is a great way to spruce up your mattress’ health.


3. Towels

how often should you replace towels

Replace yearly

The bacteria that builds up over time can’t even be gotten rid of through the washing machine. The humid and damp environment of your bathroom creates the perfect condition for bacteria to breed in your bathroom – and on your towels.


4. Sponges and cleaning cloths

how often should you replace sponges

Replace weekly

Your sponges and cloths are used for a variety of purposes around the kitchen and then left on a sink to dry out. It’s no wonder sponges and cloths regularly top the list of the most contaminated items in your home.

Disinfect at least every day or two in boiling water and replace once a week.


5. Chopping boards

how often should you replace your chopping board

Replace yearly

Look out for deep scratches or discolouration; these are signs it’s time to let go. Make sure you keep separate boards for raw meat, poultry, fruits and vegetable and non-perishables to prevent cross-contamination.


6. Disinfectants

how often should you replace your disinfectant

Replace as directed

Sanitised surfaces at home are important and a product that is past its expiry date will have reduced potency and therefore won’t be effective. It’s usually around two years but you’re best to check the expiration date on the label before purchasing or using.


7. Toothbrush

how often should you replace your toothbrush

Replace every 3 months

You’ll know it’s time to replace your toothbrush when the bristles start to splay or if there is debris on the base. This means that it won’t brush as effectively. You should also replace your brush if you’ve been sick or if you can’t remember the last time you got a new one.


8. Shampoo

how often should you replace your shampoo

Replace every 18 months

Companies generally won’t put an expiry date on shampoo or conditioner bottles but a general consensus is that anything beyond 18 months should be used.

While most of us likely get through the shampoo bottle sooner than 18 months, you’d be surprised at the age of the (usually conditioner) bottles you find in the bathroom cupboard!


9. Disposable razors

how often should you replace your disposable razor

Replace after 3 uses

This one surprised me! If you use disposable razors, you should be replacing them every few uses. Not only can these razors gather bacteria, but they may also cause skin irritations and rashes if not swapped out regularly.


10. Hairbrush

how often should you replace your hairbrush

Replace every 12 months

You should be cleaning your hairbrush weekly and replacing it annually at least. An older brush could make your hair greasy and scalp red or itchy. When bristles start to fall off or bend, it’s a good indication a replacement is needed.


11. Cosmetics

how often should you replace your makeup

Replace every 3-6 months

It depends on the product but generally anything that goes on your face has a good chance of transferring bacteria.

You should be checking the label, just to be on the safe side but this article has some great tips for when to replace all types of makeup and tools.


12. Sunscreen

how often should you replace your sunscreen

Replace every 2 years

Two years seems like a long time but if you think about it, most of us don’t wear sunscreen during the colder months of the year. So, when you reach for the sunscreen once September hits, you should definitely be looking at the expiry date. Past its expiry date, sunscreen will stop being effective, which can definitely be detrimental to you and your family’s health.


13. Slippers

how often should you replace your slippers

Replace every 6 months

The cooler weather is coming but before you pull out last winter’s slippers, think about this. Your slippers may cause fungal infections and spread germs … and when was the last time you washed your slippers?

Give your slippers a good wash or better yet, splurge on a new pair to keep your toes extra cosy.

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